The Pennsylvania Department of Education approved Dotterer Educational Consulting of Hamburg as an ACT 48 continuing professional education provider on February 15.
Dysgraphia expert Cheri Dotterer, MS, OTR/L, founded Dotterer Educational Consulting in 2018. Dotterer is an occupational therapist, educational consultant, keynote speaker, and workshop facilitator who designs professional development materials to help students overcome the socio-emotional trauma associated with dysgraphia and help teachers develop successful students.
To receive approval, the Ministry of Education requires a vocational training plan designed to meet the continuing education needs of the school and its employees to meet the specific needs of students. Professional development should be based on sound research and promising practices of educator effectiveness and should be part of an approved plan to build educator skills over the long term, according to https://www.education.pa.gov .
“As an approved supplier, teachers and other school professionals can take the continuing education necessary to maintain their certification. Dotterer Educational Consulting has completed peer review and can now support dysgraphia-themed school districts,” Dotterer said.
Dotterer explained that dysgraphia is a specific learning disability classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Health Disorders, Fifth Edition, as a developmental delay in the ability to write effectively.
“The delays relate to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, paragraph organization, misspellings and clarity,” Dotterer explained. “Many students with this disability achieve a capacity for writing activity that is developmentally lower than that of their peers. This disability also interferes with activities of daily living. It’s more than handwritten material, it’s all aspects of writing from the first time a child places a pencil in their hand to writing an essay. There is a huge socio-emotional component that prevents a person from writing.
Her clients are teachers and occupational therapists, and sometimes a parent.
“Many of them have 20 years of experience dealing with students in school settings,” she said. “Because this disability is poorly understood and occurs many times with comorbid conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there was no protocol for assessment, intervention and measures of results to support it.”
Research on this disorder has taken place over the past 15 years with a focus on academics, she said.
“My methodology is intervention-based and helps regular and learning support teachers, therapists, and parents clarify symptoms so they can clearly define interventions to support students,” he said. she stated. “The CROWN framework examines the socio-emotional components neurologically interfering with a child’s access to writing.”
C — Connecting (sometimes invisible) attributes of disability to design effective lifelong communication
R — Reward awareness and advocacy for dysgraphia
O — Own responsibility for the social-emotional impact imposed on the community by dysgraphia
W — Demonstrate empathy and sincerity for people who have difficulty writing, regardless of age
N — Standardize innovative methods that streamline assessment, intervention and outcomes
“My dream is for classrooms across the Commonwealth and beyond to notice the subtle nuances in early writers that prevent them from developing a dislike of school because it’s too difficult,” Dotterer said. “My interventions streamline the trial-and-error process to intervention by more definitively screening and assessing students so interventions are proactive and outcomes remain positive, not negative.
“Students with this disability show high levels of anxiety and frustration due to visual-spatial and memory problems. Understanding dysgraphia is critical to student success and ultimately career and academic success. These strategies can unlock hidden potential within.
Dotterer is the author of the nominated book “Handwriting Brain-Body DisConnect”.
For more information on the Dotterer Dysgraphia method, links for handwriting and computer-generated writing and symptoms, and other resources for parents and educators, visit https://www.cheridotterer .com/.